Author : Saumya Chaudhury.
We walk past the lawn in our glass heels, crushing the soft grass beneath us. Watchman scans us head to toe giving us alien looks. We ignore him. Sana had booked a cab for three of us this noon and now all we could do was wait for it to arrive.
11.15 pm. We make our way into the cab and adjust our dresses. The scanning begins again. This time it’s more specific. Ria looks away and I can’t help staring back at the mirror. This was the first time Ria and me were going for clubbing. Sana was more used to such scrutinizing looks but not us.
The cab drops us infront of a small street which is shimmering with hazy lights. People are standing in small groups and their laughter brings a chill in my flesh. We walk on.
Our fresh arrival into the bar had probably invited anxious stares from the bored crowd. I struggle to pull my blue dress down as eyes seemed to burn a hole in it. I see Sana gliding down to the a bunch of people and exchange friendly hugs and cheers and then merging into the red blue background. Ria joins her. I choose a corner seat, sink in it and close my eyes. I see my whole life flash infront of me- the daily fights, my job, Tarun. A small tissue paper is next to me when I open them again. Something was scribbled in it. I meet a pair of vulture eyes again. Before I could realize it, I found myself making my way to those eyes. “What?” I snap. “Nothing”, the reply comes with a smirk. Disgusted, I walk out of the bar and breathe in the alcohol kissed air.
The eyes have followed me out. ”What’s your name?”, they inquire. ” Mira”, I lie. “So you’re alone? I mean.. Single?”, comes the next question. “None of your business”, I stare back and start leaving. “Wait!” comes the hurried reply. “Would you like to come with me.. I live in the next lane itself. We can have fun together, you know.”, and the smirk returns back on his face. I hurry past the drunk crowds and catch hold of Ria’s arm. “Let’s leave?”, I try to sound calm. “What’s the hurry about, dude? We just came.” and she leaves me amidst hungry eyes and mouths again.
The counter stinks of stale rum and vodka. I ask for a beer and drain it in at one go. Melted glass flows through my throat and I ask for another one. I don’t understand how long have I been drinking but my head swoons when I get up. Loud music burns through my ears and I can feel the throbbing in my head.
I find myself standing back at the same spot outside the bar from where I had left. I firmly grasp a nearby pole lest I should fall. Hard skin brushes past my shoulder and I find a pair of hawk eyes behind me again. “Hey baby”, blurts out the stranger. “Wanna have some fun?” and firm hot fingers press against my neck. I jerk them off me. “What? Not interested? I will pay you if you want..” comes the aggressive hold again. I wrestle with the hold and before I realize what’s happening, I hear a loud shriek from the mouth opposite to me. “You whore! What the hell do you think you are? Why do you come at such places if you’re such a shy chick?!” Words echo in my ear and before I know, I have thrown off.
9.40 am. Sunshine brushes against my cheek and I find myself in my own bed in my apartment. I drain in the orange juice kept nearby. My head still feels dizzy. And now I slowly remember the last night. Salt drops rush down my cheeks as I stare at the opposite wall. Sana is in the room. She puts her hand in mine. “it’s okay. It happens. You’re safe now. Don’t worry.” I hear her. But words are just words. I’m not listening. All I can think about is how am I safe? All those pair of eyes flash through my memory again. How am I safe?